Friday, August 27, 2004

MOVIE TIME - thirteen

All I knew about this movie was having watched OPRAH interview Nikki Reed when it first came out.

The first thing I noticed was that I was not shocked by what I was seeing. I was not shocked to see children indulging in sex and drugs. I was not shocked by the extent to which a family trying their best could be so dysfunctional. This movie is the harsh reality of a situation that exists in more homes than anyone might believe.

Children demand a huge amount of freedom today but don’t realize you need life experience to manage it. Teenagers today take license in a way we didn’t. It is very hard as a parent to find the balance that gives them the freedom they want, that keeps them safe, and still allows you to be seen as a figure of authority. I think this movie reflected this struggle very well.

I totally identified with Holly Hunter’s speechlessness in many of the scenes. What I find so difficult with teenagers is that when they are struggling with life, they think it is something that has been done to them. Their lack of experience sometimes makes it difficult for them to see that their choices put them where they are.

Evan Rachel Wood was brilliant in her part as was Nikki Reed.

I was very relieved that the movie ended on a note that did show that there are parents who will not give up on their kids, no matter what, and that ultimately, our love for each other is the point at which we can connect and heal wounds. When we step into that realm, no words are needed and in the silence, miracles can and do happen.
I would strongly recommend this movie to any family who might have a teenager who walks anything less than a straight and narrow pathway.

 Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 26, 2004


This summer we have had house projects that I would rank as being of Olympic proportions. We have had a lot of home improvements and repairs done, which I intend sharing and am in the process of preparing for posting.

I reminded Daniel today of the Comrades Marathon. This is a race that covers a distance of some 55 miles held every year and is run from Durban up to Pietermaritzburg. South Africans would sit and watch the race on TV and I have to say, as cruel as it sounds, more for the pleasure of watching those finishing last than the winner crossing the line. One of the shortest finish times recorded was 5.54 hours with others setting a goal of completing in 11 – 12 hours. At this stage, people would wobble over the finish line. They could barely speak, hardly walk, let alone run. They would usually collapse into the arms and towels of a loyal supporter, have gallons of water thrown over them and their legs would resemble that of jell-o corkscrews. This, basically, is what Daniel and I feel like today in terms of the stuff we have to complete in the house by Sunday.

Our Nanny, Marti, arrives from Slovakia and we have to have her room ready. This requires the purchase of dressers, or chests of drawers as we call them, and the re-arranging of three rooms in the house. While it is our pleasure to do this, and while having her here is going to create so much value in our lives, we feel like we are at the closing stages of what has been a three-year marathon. Just finding dressers we like has been like a marathon itself!

Much in the same way as these runners do, I am psyching myself up to survive the building of the flat packed dressers. When Daniel embarks on such a project, you can be guaranteed that we will leave the store with the items that God’s factory workers messed up. This of course leads us to that inevitable point in the process where Daniel raises his hands to the heavens and asks “why, why, why, why, WHY do you do this to ME, e.v.e.r.y s.i.n.g.l.e t.i.m.e, WHY?” and it is then followed by those heart wrenching little whispering sobs.

It has taken a few years, but I have learnt that this is one time I quite simply shut up. When the whaling subsides, I tip toe into the room and give a Comrades style supportive rub on his back or just stand and extend one of those “you can do it darling” smiles … you know, the one where you squeeze your lips together and puff out your cheeks, followed by a re-assuring wink and nod of the head! We can do this, and we will get through it.
The summer seems to have zoomed by so quickly that I am going to draw up a 'DID I DO IT?' Checklist. That will be for next time.

COMRADES Route Posted by Hello

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


This year the MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY ASSOCIATION (MDA) is dedicating its Labor Day Telethon to Mattie Stepanek who died in June.

Please support the MDA and honor the memory of this precious being by supporting the drive. Truly, every contribution helps.

PO Box 79071
Phoenix, AZ 85062-9071

Treat yourself to any one of Mattie’s books.

~ Thank you to those who take action. ~

Mattie Stepanek Posted by Hello


In the name of love, I humbly dedicate today's posting to Dooce and Blurbomat. Enjoy!

Monday, August 23, 2004


I found these two pics while going through an old box of stuff last week. They both really hold special meaning to me.

The houseboat we lived on in Amsterdam brings up memories of fun, love, new beginnings, freedom and more love, oh, and a couple of sandwiches! It is situated on the Prinsengracht canal.

The other is a 23 year old postcard of Johannesburg. It would be interesting to get someone to take current pics of these views of the city to see what it looks like today. I love the Jacaranda trees. I recently read that there are six million trees in Johannesburg. Of these, 1.2 million are within the parks and on the sidewalks, and 4.8 million in the private gardens throughout the suburbs.

Our houseboat in Amsterdam. Posted by Hello

Beautiful Jacaranda Trees. Posted by Hello

Friday, August 20, 2004


The last few weeks have been terrible as far as my insomnia goes. As much of a treat as it is being awake all night to sit and chat to my loved ones on line in South Africa, I have been desperate for some sleep.

I therefore decided last night that I would resort to a sleep aid because I was starting to feel like something from another planet due to sleep deprivation.

The evening started getting weird at about 1am when my friend Paulie called me from somewhere remote on the West Coast to talk. He has been attending a course that he was sent on by the Yeshiva he is studying at in Jerusalem. It has been such a long time since we had a good talk on the phone, that the time didn’t bother me. By 2a.m. however I was feeling totally exhausted and excused myself.

I have a lift chair in my bedroom that I use because it is so much easier for me to get out of this chair than any other chair. When Daniel is away, I sleep in the chair because it is again easier for me than negotiating my way in and out of bed unaided. As Daniel has been in Chicago this week, Ross has been sleeping in his bed and I have sitting awake in my chair.

Last night however, I got myself really comfy in the chair and was sure that my sleep aid, combined with quite a large intake of Rescue Remedy would guarantee me a good night’s, much needed, rest and sleep.

I got a huge fright when Pingy started barking like a dog possessed, sat up totally confused, took a few minutes to focus clearly enough to read the time, and the next thing, a $*%(^&()$)ing bat comes flying straight at me at exactly 5.40a.m.. Yes, A BAT! Picture the scene, slow moving, very sleepy, naked and confused woman reaches for pillow and assumes gladiator posture to avoid bat. Yorkshire Terrier assumes Piranha posture and is screaming into the darkness trying to bite the bat out of the air. Child sits up and and yells “Mommy what is going on?”
“Stay under the covers Ross, there is a [screech as it comes straight for me again] bat in the room”.

I reach for the phone and dialled David’s cell phone number. There is no way I am stepping out from under my blanket to go call him. Through all of this I am waving my pillow because this darn bat is determined to make it to the window above me which is not open I might add, but sealed very shut as it houses an air conditioner. I am at this point having a conversation with God in my head asking him what it really and truly takes for me to have a good night’s sleep. This was not a conversation with God of Neale’s proportions, but a conversation nonetheless!

I correctly anticipated getting David’s voice mail so no sooner than it answered I was re-dialling. “Hello?” said the deep, very sleepy voice.
“David, there’s a bat in my room, please come upstairs now”. David is great in these kind of situations as he has no fear.
“What?” he asks.
“Daaaavid, there is a bat in my room, will you pleeeeeaase come upstairssszzzz?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Come on man, David – you know, wings, blind, fly, scary, BAT. Please come up here!”


“David, is that you?”
“SHIT! Sorry, I have the wrong number”

Re dial and David picks up the phone. He comes upstairs by which time there is no movement. I assure him there really is a bat in the room and ask him please just wait for it to start flying around again. Ross at this stage is nothing more than a muffled whisper from under the duvet. I tell David to put the hall light on and then he spots the bat in the living room.

Within a few minutes he has managed to get the bat out the sliding door in the kitchen and he goes back to bed.

Ross and I were feeling so traumatized by this whole experience that we got into my bed together and clung to each other as we went back to sleep.

I am pleased to say that I had a wonderful further 5 hours sleep and woke up feeling really good.

Part of me wondered if that combination of the Rescue Remedy and sleep aid was such a good idea, but Ross confirmed for me that this did really all happen. He said that the bat came here to have a place to crash until the morning, as he was tired, and didn’t mean any harm.

Have a cool weekend people and a good Shabbas.

Love, Dawn x x x

... and one needed a rest! Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 19, 2004


I am not sure exactly what it is about this show, but there is certainly something that has got my full attention. I think it might be Mose. I am really moved by the deep affection he has for his religion and the way he wants to get all he can out of his experience in the city and stay true to the things he loves and respects. He displays such tenderness and a wonderful ability to simply live and let live; I find it very powerful. He has lived, by our standards, a sheltered life. Yet, he has this incredible skill from which he draws his strength to let himself and people, simply BE. I felt so sad in an earlier episode where he said it is clear to him that you just can’t trust people from the city. How sad that we should be perceived that way, but easy to relate to. In spite of this realization, he continues to give a hundred percent of himself.

I thoroughly enjoyed Nick’s “AHA” moment when a total stranger pressed a button by telling him to stop playing games. He does have the most amazing eyes as Ariel said, and I am enjoying watching the way he is looking at things, literally. It appears that he is having a very different experience to the one he came expecting to have, and in its own way, it is proving to be quite a spiritual journey for him. It is fun to watch people when they realize little miracles are taking place around them.

That essentially has been the whole difference for me between the two groups. Everything is like a miracle for the Amish kids while the city slickers take it all in their stride and only see the magic of it all in the Amish experience and not their own.

I hope the series comes out on DVD – I think it will be an interesting way to show my child the value in keeping things a treat through the way you approach them as opposed to overlooking the beauty of things due to ease of availability. Perhaps it is my generation gap talking, but I find the “easy come, easy go” attitude of younger people today very disturbing.
So, bring on the Amish – they have been a nice addition to the summer TV line-up.
Check it out on Wednesday night at 8pm - UPN
Also looking forward to this movie.

AMISH IN THE CITY Posted by Hello

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

PINGY. Posted by Hello


I just love it when I open an email and something delicious awaits me. This message from my friend in London is one of those deliciousnesses that can only be described as delicious because it is just so darn delicious!
"I feel like, if there was a place where babies were created before they arrived on earth you and me came from that same place...... !!"

 Posted by Hello


It is almost 2.30 in the morning, and my blog has decided to give me a whole pile of shit about posting things in totally the opposite order to which I am telling it to do.

I have no clue why this is happening and there are certain friends who read my blog who will not enjoy me using words like fuck this thing right now it is pissing me off big time. I find it very difficult to get through these kind of moments without the use of such words.

I am not prepared to spend one more minute trying to figure this out because I walk around my house preaching to my children that there is no such frigging thing as TRYING – you are either doing something or you aren’t. Clearly, therefore, I am not posting successfully so I am not going to waste another minute trying to work this out.

Please make sense of the insane order of the postings and the pictures. If I could have wished for Mark Ruffalo to be anything, it would not have been my stepdaughter and I assure you, Alex, there is truly no subliminal message to you in 13 GOING ON 30.

Posted by Hello Mark Ruffalo


Just publishing another post to check if my problem still persists.
This all adds a new dimension to frustrating.


All new postings I publish are appearing in this space slot. They are not building up in the next available space. I am not aware of why this is happening therefore am unable to fix it. PLEASE HELP!......SOON!


This summer, I have watched my 19-year-old stepdaughter break up with, go back to, and then be broken up with … the first love of her life.

In much the same way I wish I could get my 7 year old son to believe me that when you are tired the only way you can get relief from it is to sleep; I want to be able to assure Alex that:
There is no point in making this super hero wrong for not being the exception to every single male rule you thought he was. He was just being 17.
You have to keep your eye on the destination for now and don’t let the journey hold you back.
If the journey keeps you stuck in the same place for too long, move on, even if on your own.
It is nice to cherish the beauty of the relationship because no matter how many others you have, he has the privilege of being the one you will really always remember. It kind of links in with that one chance you have to make a good first impression. We might well forget a few dates we have been on, but never the first lover.
This pain is good. This pain is the universe telling you that you are growing.
It is interesting to realize that the more you learn, the more you see there is to learn!

This will be a summer you will remember clearly for a long time I expect. Both my stepchildren are about to have a reunion with their mother after five years.
What I find really fascinating is that I am having thoughts about not being able to protect them through this one. I wish I had some of that magic dust so that I could sprinkle it over all of them to ensure they have an emotionally safe time. A time that will give these two people something to reach resolution with so that they can move on in their lives. My wish for them is that this week will give them what they need to disengage from the anger, to step out of the hurt and into the power of peace and contentment.


The ideals that have lighted my way and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully have been Kindness, Bravery and Truth. ~ Albert Einstein

13 GOING ON 30

I watched this movie because I have never seen Jennifer Garner in anything besides ‘Alias’. I thoroughly enjoyed it! It is all the simple things like sweet, predictable, cute and light. Maybe it is presumptuous of me to think every girl wishes something like this could happen to her, I know I have, many times.
Without revealing too much of the story line (I am one of those people who intentionally does NOT read the back of the video or dvd box, and I NEVER read reviews … but I write them) I will say that magic dust transporting me to another time and having me emerge stunningly gorgeous sounds like a winning experience. The cherry on top would be arriving and feasting my eyes on Mark Ruffalo. He is one of the easiest to look at kind of guys that I have seen in a long time. You want to reach into the screen and direct him to the seat next to you and say, “Please come hang out with me, pleeeeease!” There’s laid back and then there’s Ruffalo. There’s a gorgeous, happy ending, the clothes are divine, and everything about this movie says get some friends together and settle in for a really cool chick flick ... but don’t forget that Mark can come too if he wants!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Alex Posted by Hello


I am seriously happy to start my news with the victory of South Africa over New Zealand in the Tri-Nations Rugby.

To be honest, I am really not a major rugby fan myself, but I love what the game represents and I love the energy around it. It is different to American Football and English Soccer (in England they call their soccer football – this gets confusing!). Kind of like in South Africa a biscuit is what the Americans call a cookie and in England a scone is what the Americans call a biscuit. It gets to where you are tempted to work that one out with diagrams!

Although rugby is very much a southern hemisphere game, it has an active following in my household. My stepson David belongs to the Morris Lions High School Rugby Club. He is a brilliant rugby player and very involved with the club.

Last year, in support of the growth of the club, Daniel and I introduced an award for the Player’s Player of the Year. We donated a trophy in memory of my brother Willie who passed away March 17th, 2003. My brother really loved watching the game and used to do so with Daniel. We thought this would be a really cool way to remember him and the club welcomed it.

The team members vote their choice for the Player’s Player of the Year. He receives a trophy, which he keeps for a year and then passes it to the next winner. He remains with a miniature version of the trophy and a club shirt with the award name embroidered on the front as well.

Being the first year, I presented the award last year and Daniel did it this year. I said to him that we should alternate each year to avoid the presentations becoming boring and I didn’t want to feel like the Duchess of Wimbledon. The presentation is made at the beautiful home of one of the team members. His parents host a picnic in their garden that truly looks like a park with a beautiful pool.

The first presentation was pretty hard to make, as it was just a few months after Willie had died. My brother lived in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He took ill; Daniel and I flew out to see him. We spent a week with him and returned home. A week later he died.

In spite of having made a series of bad choices over a period of time in his life that resulted in his premature death at age 56, he was most certainly my hero. I love him deeply and miss him tremendously. Somehow, the rugby victory we enjoy makes me feel a sense of closeness to him, which is why I chose to start my updates after this vacation break, with this posting.

It is one of a celebration of life, love, achievement and good times.

I found a copy of the speech I made at last year’s celebration, which I will add in here because it explains where the game fits into our lives.
Begin speech:
Our family has been in the United States for almost two years. Moving a family this size around the world is a huge undertaking. People toss the words “get a life” around as easily as one would throw a ball against the wall, but I wonder how many people actually know what goes into getting a new life.

A very important aspect of this process is to find groups and individuals who are like-minded, so that you can quickly gain a sense of identity and belonging. This can be a daunting task when you actually don’t know where to start.

It is for this reason that I stand here today with a huge sense of both pride and achievement. Sensing one day that our son David was starting to have serious withdrawal symptoms from not playing rugby, I decided that there just had to be a club out there, and I was determined to find it. I know this is the land of baseball and football, but please, God, I asked silently, help me stop this child from pacing the halls and direct me to a rugby club.

I went onto the internet and within a few minutes was on the phone to my husband, Daniel insisting he phoned that very day to find out if Morris Lions was a suitable club for David. The rest, as they say, is history.

For those who don’t know who Posh and Becks are …. David Beckham plays soccer for Manchester United and is regarded as England’s top player. His wife Victoria, is ex Spice Girl, Posh. If you are wondering why I am mentioning this, it is because if Posh can get on TV and say she doesn’t know the rules of a soccer game, I can certainly stand up here and say, I don’t know the first thing about rugby other than what you want to do is score a try! However, what I do know is that this is a game that requires strength, both of body and spirit. It takes commitment, integrity, passion, sportsmanship, skill and discipline.

I wanted to dedicate something to the living memory of my brother, who unfortunately recently died a premature death. In his youth, like all other South African scholars, he enjoyed playing school rugby. In his later years, he was an equally avid armchair supporter.

The Willie Blumberg Memorial Award acknowledges the player voted by his peers for having given his all at each match, for always being an active member of the club, socially as well as on the field, who has shown exemplary sportsmanship and is the personification of a great all around player and personality.

It is therefore with great pleasure, that Daniel and I, on behalf of the team members, acknowledge OWEN LEE as the Morris Lions High School Rugby Player’s Player of the Year 2003.
End speech.

When Daniel got up to make his presentation this year, he was overcome with emotion and really had to take some time to settle himself. He is such an amazing person and I admire him for how he has no qualms about sharing his emotions in situations like this. Most guys would think the last place you might find a man moved to tears is at a rugby club. It really was a special moment and although this award is so not about me in any way at all, Daniel’s honesty about his feelings made me feel honored and I really hoped my brother was looking down on us and seeing how deeply he is loved.

We were very pleased to hand the award to Michael Webber – a well deserving winner!

Dedicated to the living memory of my brother, Willie. x x x x  Posted by Hello

A group of friends in Melbourne, Australia celebrating South Africa's victory this weekend. Posted by Hello

Michael Webber 2004 Winner. Posted by Hello

Daniel. Posted by Hello

David. Posted by Hello

The Trophy. Posted by Hello

This one's for you, Wil'. Posted by Hello

Presenting the 2003 Award. Posted by Hello

Monday, August 09, 2004


We are away enjoying a vacation with family and friends in Canada.
Will be back at the end of the week.
Make sure you come back for updates, eh!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


marti got her visa.
i am a very happy person right now.
we are a very happy family right now.


If play is to be genuine it must be lighthearted and
pursued without purpose. That is why we usually fail
if we try to have fun. ~ Larry Dossey
"Kids are Worth It" by Barbara Colorosso

Monday, August 02, 2004

Ross and Connor were in Kindergarten together ... Posted by Hello

The first time I saw Connor, I thought that he looked like an animated creation who had stepped off a movie screen into the school room.  Posted by Hello

His spirit is as light as captured in this pic where he has both feet off the ground. Posted by Hello

So here's Ross and Connor just chillin' in the 'Vet ... Posted by Hello

Ok, Dawn! Can you please stop with the pics now? Posted by Hello

Too cute for words!  Posted by Hello